Sydney: Australia internet safety watchdog has slapped a A$610,500 ($386,000; £317,360) fine on Elon Musk’s X for failing to cooperate with a probe into anti-child abuse practices.
X, previously known as Twitter, is the first online platform to be fined under Australia’s Online Safety Act.
The eSafety Commissioner asked X, TikTok, Google, Discord and Twitch in February for details about their measures for detecting and removing child sexual abuse material.
X was singled out for failing to provide any response to some questions, “leaving some sections entirely blank.”
“if you have answers to questions, if you’re actively implementing measures to tackle illegal content at scale, and globally, and if it’s your stated priority, it’s relatively straightforward to comply,” Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said.
Grant, who served as a public policy director for X until 2016, added, “The only reason I can see for failing to answer important questions about illegal content and conduct happening on platforms would be if you lack answers.”
Alphabet’s Google was also issued a warning for noncompliance with its request for information about handling of child abuse content.
But X’s noncompliance was more serious, with the regulator saying the company failed to “provide any response to some questions, leaving some sections entirely blank”.
It added that: “Twitter/X did not respond to a number of key questions including the time it takes the platform to respond to reports of child sexual exploitation; the measures it has in place to detect child sexual exploitation in livestreams; and the tools and technologies it uses to detect child sexual exploitation material”.
The company confirmed to the regulator that it had cut 80% of its workforce globally and has no public policy staff in Australia, compared to two before Mr Musk’s takeover.
Last month, X was criticised by Australian researchers for disabling a feature that allowed users to report misinformation about elections.
The move has fuelled concern as it came ahead of a key Australia referendum which took place over the weekend to give Indigenous people more rights.